You may know that you always should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. But positioning yourself for a higher role takes more than the appropriate attire. It is a combination of having the right qualification and skills combined with a record of achievements and potential.

If you want to be the one who comes first in mind when a higher position opens, it is important to show that you have got what it takes to do the job better than other internal and external candidates. In this situation, you will have the advantage of being there and having a stretch of time to prove what you are capable of.

And while you may be trying to avoid being pushy, this is a situation where you should express your interest explicitly. Don’t just assume that your supervisor or other management-level decision makers would know what you aspire to.

Remember it is not wrong to express an interest in advancing, especially if your aspirations seem realistic and in line with a natural move for your experience. Having said that, you must show courtesy and flexibility, if you don’t get pick up for a promotion.

Here are a few steps to take if you want to climb ranks in your company.

Work hard, seriously

Nothing could help you as much as showing a good work ethic. Keep your productivity unquestionable. This won’t in itself earn you a promotion, but it will position you among those who are reliable and trustworthy.

Working hard doesn’t mean working long hours, however. Working hard means getting things done, taking initiative, being focused and invested in what you do and putting your best effort in your work every day.

Know your options

To position yourself for a higher position, you need to be realistic. It is unlikely that you will push someone higher than you aside to get a promotion. So keep your eye on a position that could be the right fit for you and work to get the skills and knowledge that are required to make the move.

In addition, think of positions that could be with other teams or in different departments. Sometimes the only way up is also sideways. So instead of being stuck on one position, look for multiple options that could fit your aspirations. In fact, moving around in an organisation can help you build a thorough knowledge of its operations.

Go above and beyond

Working hard and doing your job will keep you in the pool of candidates. If you want to stand out, you must be exceptional, which is difficult to do or explain. You will need to take every opportunity to show that your capabilities exceed what you currently do.

For example, take an initiative on a large project or step in to help coworkers when they are in a bind. Bring in new ideas or propose a side project that could help in any way. In short, get more than just your work done. The way to stand out is simply by showing what you will bring to your next job and growing the employer’s confidence in your ability to deliver.

Have the right demeanour

Show the right attitude and professional demeanour. Don’t be the one who is easily triggered or immature in the office. Even if you’re not vying for a top-level management, being reliable and stable can always help you advance.

Having the right attitude also include showing common courtesy to coworkers, supervisors and clients. Remember, the higher you go up the corporate ladder, the more likely you will get to interact with others frequently either as team members. There will be more frequent testing times for your ability to remain flexible and compromise. So make sure that you’re not perceived as difficult to deal with or rigid, which all are not leadership traits.

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.

Eying a promotion

Work hard and stay focused

Shoot for a realistic move

Consider other teams

Get attention by standing apart

Be professional, flexible and courteous

— R.O.